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Home Tech Organizations turn to tech to counter health problems in Kenya

Organizations turn to tech to counter health problems in Kenya

by Susan Mwenesi
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 Samsung Electronics EA VP & COO Robert Ngeru with Amref Director General Dr. Teguest Guerma during the Amref Health Africa Roundtable at Serena Hotel, Nairobi_12th Aug. 2014The health sector is getting a shot in the arm by organizations forming partnerships to deal with the recurring problems in health as well as the upcoming ones a good example being Samsung East Africa which will give healthcare providers smartphones that will boost maternal health in Kenya.

While speaking at a roundtable discussion organized by Amref Health Africa today, Samsung east Africa Chief Operations Officer Robert Ngeru said that the mobile phones will be used for tracking mother and child health while still in the womb all targeted at reducing maternal deaths.

Together with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and GSMA under the mHealth initiative, Samsung was involved in a similar initiative in other African countries  and in East Africa Kenya will be the first country in February 2015 followed by Tanzania and Rwanda.

“The smartphones will actually come at a cheaper price since they will be subsidized by WHO and Samsung. Currently, the initiative is in Nigeria and South Africa in and we plan to roll out the program next year on February across East Africa starting with Kenya Tanzania and Rwanda,” said Ngeru.

“As the region’s health systems struggle to meet basic standards of care, many experts have come to believe that system-wide barriers are preventing greater progress. A comprehensive approach is required to overcome these barriers,” said Dr. Teguest Guerma, Director General, Amref Health Africa. “We acknowledge the Government of Kenya’s commitment to healthcare, but we also recognise that it does not have enough resources to meet the country’s health needs. It is time to strengthen public-private partnerships and Amref Health Africa is seeking to successfully harness the financial and innovative resourcefulness that both the private sector and governments have to offer so as to resolve health challenges in Africa.”

Samsung In conjunction with Strathmore University is also working on a health solution called Dr. Smart, that will allow patients to collect data from patients and store in a cloud for the doctor to come and recommend the required treatment. In the beginning it will only work with private hospitals but later will include public hospitals after engaging the help Amref to give them direction.

While decrying that small income earners do not see insurance as a solution to their health problems, Britam Insurance Chief Executive Officer O Mr. Steven Wandera also outlined the Linda Jamii initiative that provides insurance to low income earners seeking medical insurance.

The initiative is a brainchild of Britam which is the underwriter, Safaricom contributes technology infrastructure and Changamka is tasked with deployment, administration and distribution of the solution.

In addition to The Ksh 12000 and Ksh. 6000 being seen as costly, the initiative has also been plagued with other challenges such as last mile connectivity being low, lack of awareness, low income levels and uncertainty of claim payments from the clients among others.

“Medical insurance is plagued by fraud, if you are going to deliver low cost insurance you have to put up mechanisms to counter fraud,” said Wandera.

Not to be left behind Equity Bank through its Equity foundation is in the process of launching a health franchise to cater to about 2.5 million people. The foundation will use mobile technology through its sister company Finserve to help in rolling put the franchise.

It will also rely on its many branches and extensive agent network to roll out the health services that will also equip doctors with needed skills to carry out a business as well as work with National health Insurance Fund , the government and other partners to ensure health for especially the low income earners. The company says its targeting at having healthy clients which ultimately ensures they stay in business.

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